15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]
15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2024]

© SamoaPocketGuide.com

What Can You Do in Apia for Free (or Even Cheap)?

… Pretty much everything you would want to do in Apia! That’s right, Samoa’s capital is not a town that’s going to milk you for all you’re worth. In fact, you’re more likely to experience the complete opposite through the generosity of its locals, such as those at the Samoa Cultural Village, making their traditions accessible to visitors. Meanwhile, the activities that you do have to pay for are incredibly cheap, and when it goes towards preserving natural habitats like at Palolo Deep, who’s complaining? So, experience Samoa’s capital, which just happens to not break the budget, with advice from this list of the best free and cheap things to do in Apia!

For more money-saving wisdom, also check out The Complete Travel Guide to Apia on a Budget.

1. Visit Samoa Cultural Village – FREE

“Fa’a Samoa” means “The Samoan Way” and you’ll certainly get the full flavour of the Samoan culture at Apia’s best-value attraction (and not only because it’s free). Happening from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday, Samoa Cultural Village starts with a hands-on experience of weaving your own plate for the umu. You’ll then be formally welcomed with an ‘ava ceremony before seeing how a traditional umu feast is prepared. While your lunch is cooking, see how ‘ava bowls are carved and even witness a painstaking Samoan tatau (tattoo) being applied in the traditional way. Finally, sit down with your freshly prepared umu lunch while watching a fiafia cultural performance including fire dancing. Epic!

Location: Behind the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Beach Road.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

2. Check Out Samoa’s Best Snorkelling Spot, Palolo Deep – CHEAP

At first glance, it might not look like much. But 100 m (109 yards) off the shores of Apia and under the lagoon’s surface hides an amazing array of marine life that will make you squeak in your snorkel. Hire snorkelling gear from the kiosk at Palolo Deep and swim out to the white buoy to see an underwater trench thriving with staghorn coral, hundreds of tropical fish, starfish, octopuses and, if you’re lucky, perhaps even some turtles. The latter is more likely to be seen near the tiny island. Note that the water is way too shallow for enjoyable snorkelling when it’s not close to high tide, so plan your visit accordingly. For more sweet (and affordable) snorkelling spots, check out The Best Snorkelling in Samoa: Top 10 Places to Snorkel.

Location: Between the Marina and Vaiala Beach along Beach Road.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

3. Browse Apia’s Markets – FREE/CHEAP

Free to attend and only as cheap as what you decide to spend, the markets of Apia are certainly worth perusing even if it’s just for the cultural ambience. The largest market in Samoa and a hotspot for all sorts of cultural goings-on, Fugalei Market is a sight not to be missed, the Flea Market is a more compact version and specialises more in crafts, while the Samoa Women’s Association of Growers (SWAG) Market is a cute Saturday gathering, and the Night Market on the last Friday of the month is a street food storm. Learn more about each market and more in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa.

Location: All over Apia! See the link above for specific locations.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

4. Slide Down the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks – CHEAP

Try out nature’s waterslides at the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks! After walking down an anxiously high number of steps, knowing that you have to get back up them again, you’ll come across the first and biggest slide that locals call the “men’s slide”; a near verticle 5-m (16-ft) slide. Further down is the “kids’ slide”, a much less precarious slide with a little drop at the end of extra fun. Finally, at the bottom, you have the “women’s slide”. Lots of fun, lots of laughs; what’s not to love? Avoid the busiest times, which tend to be the weekends, to get optimal slide time.

Location: Se’ese’e, Faleata District on the outskirts of Apia. The access road turns off Maugafolau Road near the University of the South Pacific campus.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

5. Learn About Samoan History at Falemata’aga Museum of Samoa – FREE

The free but donation-based Museum of Samoa, Falemata’aga has an impressive collection of historical artefacts from across Samoa and the South Pacific. If you don’t want to sift through it all yourself, free guided tours are available with passionate guides to show you through six different galleries (in air-conditioned rooms, might we add) boasting 3,000-year-old Lapita pottery, colonisation history and even a small art exhibition, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied for as long as you wish. Get more of a museum fix from the 5 Best Museums in Samoa.

Location: Vaitele Street (look out for the large mural on the building).

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

6. Take a Tour of the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum… – CHEAP

Another museum in Apia that’s affordable and well worth scouting out, the impeccably maintained grounds and villa of the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895), who lived in Samoa for the remaining four years of his life, are preserved for visitors to enjoy today. While “Villa Vailima” has had a few makeovers over the years, the home has been filled with replicas to represent what this classic colonial home would have looked like. That’s not to say there aren’t a few original trinkets, books and personal belongings to admire, as well as stories to immerse in while taking the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum tour with one of the museum’s incredibly knowledgeable guides.

Location: Signposted along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

7. … Then Hike Up Mt Vaea to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Tomb – FREE

Accessed via Vailima Botanical Garden (see point #8) or the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum next door, the Robert Louis Stevenson Tomb Trail not only leads you to the tomb of the famous author on Mt Vaea but reveals both fairytale-like rainforest and outstanding views of Apia. There are two routes to choose from; the 30-minute rough and steep way or the 50-minute easier way that zigzags its way to the top. The latter passes by a magnificent banyan tree. Whichever you choose, good walking shoes are recommended. Check out more places to stretch your legs in the 15 Best Walks & Hikes in Samoa.

Location: RLS Museum – Signposted along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia. The walk can be found at a clearing in the forest between the Garden Toilets and the museum (you’ll see the sign for the Tomb Track). Vailima Botanical Garden – Instead of turning down the lane to the museum, continue straight until you reach an archway and sign for the gardens.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

8. Admire the Flora at Vailima Botanical Garden – FREE

Encompassing 12 ha (30 acres) of native, introduced and naturalised plant species, Vailima Botanical Garden offers a wonderful free space to explore in Apia. The information centre here provides more details about the biodiversity of the gardens, while the freshwater pool and waterfall of the Loimata o Apaula stream is a wonderful place for a refreshing dip. You can also start the Tomb Trail (see above) from here.

Location: Follow signposts for the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia. Instead of turning down the lane to the museum, however, continue straight until you reach an archway and sign for Vailima Botanical Garden.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

9. Explore Matagialalua Friendship Park – FREE

A neat little area on the Apia waterfront, Friendship Park offers an attractive park for a stroll, to catch the latest community event and to let kids loose at the playground if you’re travelling as a family. Explore the Mangrove Tidal Garden with boardwalks and bridges to mosey over, watch locals battle it out at the sports courts, and head down to the amphitheatre to catch a free gig or event. For more family-friendly spaces in the city, check out the 10 Things to Do in Apia with Kids.

Location: On the waterfront behind the Government Building on Beach Road.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

10. Have a Look Inside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral – FREE

This striking cathedral looming over the Apia Harbour is undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring in Samoa, from the outside and within. Inside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral boasts an ornate timber ceiling and vibrant stained-glass windows. The original church was constructed in 1884 with the most recent reconstruction estimated to have cost ST$13 million, so go have a visit for the love of funding! For other impressive churches to visit, check out the 10 Best Churches in Samoa to Experience as a Visitor.

Location: Beach Road opposite the Samoa Tourism Information Centre.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© Samoa Tourism Authority

11. Watch the Royal Samoan Police Marching Band – FREE

Each weekday morning from around 8:45 am, the Royal Samoa Police Band brings the streets of Apia to life with trumpets, trombones and drums as they march along Beach Road from the Police Station Headquarters. At 9 am, they raise the Samoan flag on the lawns of the Government Building before marching their merry way back to the Police Station. A sight not to be missed!

Location: Between the Police Station HQ and Government Building, Beach Road.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

12. Check Out the Apia Clock Tower – FREE

Standing in plain sight at Apia’s main roundabout on Beach Road, the Apia Clock Tower is not only an interesting photo opportunity but it commemorates the Samoan soldiers that died during World War One. Reading the plaque at the base of the clock tower, however, can be dangerous due to traffic, so check out the Falemata’aga, The Museum of Samoa (see above) to see the full text including the 60 names of those that died during the war.

Location: Beach Road roundabout, near the Government Building.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

13. Take a Tiki Tour Down the Mulinuu Peninsula to See its Historical Sites – FREE

On the Mulinuu Peninsula lining the Apia Harbour are a number of historical memorials to make for an interesting side trip from town. From the tombs of various heads of state to memorials to Samoa’s German affiliations to commemorating Samoa’s independence, many representations of Samoa’s political history can be found here. Learn more about the individual memorials in the 10 Best Historical Sites in Apia.

Location: Mulinuu Peninsula, Mulinuu Road.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

14. Ride a Samoan Bus – CHEAP

Yes, even just taking the bus around Apia is an experience! Suited up in vibrant colours, multicoloured lights, plasma-cut designs and hood ornaments, the Samoan public bus service is something Xzibit would be proud of. Ride around the island to blaring tunes and, if it’s busy, witness the customary “Samoan squeeze” with passengers literally sitting on each other’s laps on their way to or from work. Check out our guide, Taking the Bus in Upolu: Bus Fares, Routes & More to learn more.

Location: Apia’s main bus stations are at the Fugalei Market, Fugalei Street and on the waterfront between the two roundabouts (behind the Flea Market).

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© Samoa Tourism Authority

15. Scout Out the City’s Cheap Eats – CHEAP

When in doubt, eat! Apia is where most of Samoa’s cafes, restaurants and takeaways are located so take the opportunity to sample a few of its flavours even if it’s on the cheap. From delicious Asian noodles to gourmet burgers to authentic Samoan dishes (the latter mostly found in the markets), there is a range of international foods represented here. Check out some of the cheapest in The Top Cheap Eats in Apia & Upolu.

Location: All over Apia! See the link above for recommendations and their locations.

15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia ๐Ÿ’ธ [2023]© SamoaPocketGuide.com

More Free and Cheap Things to Do in Apia

That’s it for our complete list of free things to do in Apia and cheap things to do in Apia. If you’re exploring more of Samoa or need more inspiration for Apia, check out these other lists:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed when it comes to saving money in Apia, we probably mention it in The Complete Backpacking Guide to Samoa on a Budget.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Samoa Tourism Authority, a local government body representing the tourism industry. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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